Assessing the President’s Visit to the US [Archives:2001/48/Focus]

November 26 2001

Ahmad Mohammed Abdulghani
Director of the al-Jazeera & al-Khaleej Center for Studies
The President’s visit to the US was planned to take place in mid-2001, coinciding with increasing American attention towards knowing more about the situation in the region through a number of meetings with Arab leaders.
The September 11 terrorist attacks on the US has created a new international and regional situation. Hence, the visit of the President to the US, scheduled for November 27, is very important because of the current critical time. This time is sufficient to allow each side to present its worries and priorities, thus revealing each side’s understanding of the other’s interests.
Since terrorism is currently the most urgent issue for the US, this topic will certainly be the main topic on the agenda of the visit. However, the US should not limit itself and its friends to this narrow angle. Yemen has been very cooperative with the US in this field and has condemned all sorts of terrorism.
The US should bear in mind the present circumstances their friends live in, so it shouldn’t go so far in its demands pertaining to eradicating terrorism. The war against terror has proven that this issue is not everything. It is rather one of the issues that needs vital solutions. Therefore, the big countries, including the US, should be attentive to the other issues of the region.
The Palestinians’ case is the most important among those issues. A fair solution to this issue is the first positive step in easing tension in the region. One of the responsibilities of the US, then, should be restraining the Zionist’s terrorist acts against Palestinians.
Security and stability of the region concern both sides, Yemen as well as the US. Yemen has proven to be an important partner in achieving such a state. Yemen’s role in the security of the Red Sea, the Horn of Africa and the Arab Sea can not be ignored.
The US should also pay attention to and support Yemen’s economic and democratic issues and those related to building a modern Yemen.
Yemen looks forward to a rise in the amount of the American financial aid it receives, so that it will include all spheres of development. It also looks to directing American capital for investment here. Yemen’s ambitions in this regard seem to be at their minimum level in comparison with the importance of enhancing and developing Yemen-US relations, which is a strategic issue. The Americans are more aware of their future strategic worries and the volume of the needs of Yemen’s role in this connection.
Personally, I don’t think that the US would ignore calls for building balanced bilateral relations that take into consideration interests of both countries and are based on transparency, clarity and mutual respect. This necessitates that the US mitigate extortion policies and give their friends a chance to look after their interests.